Founded in 1978, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) Inc. is the only national, congressionally chartered veteran’s service organization dedicated to Vietnam-era veterans and their families. VVA is organized as a not-for-profit corporation that relies totally on private contributions for its revenue. VVA does not receive any funding from federal, state, or local governments. There are over 80,000 members represented by 46 state councils, just over 700 local chapters and a national board of directors.
VVA’S founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.” Organizational goals are to promote and support the full range of issues important to Vietnam veterans, to create a new identity for this generation of veterans, and to change public perception of Vietnam veterans. VVA holds as its first principle that the organization is measured by deeds and openness as evidence of the core values of justice, integrity, and meaningful achievement.
The VVA presence in Nevada includes the Nevada State Council, Chapter 17 in Las Vegas, Chapter 1076 in Henderson, Chapter 388 in Carson City, Chapter 744 in Winnemucca, Chapter 993 in Mesquite and Chapter 989 in Reno. There are also incarcerated chapters active in Lovelock and Carson City.
VVA’s programs are varied but focus on the needs of veterans from all eras including:
- Government Relations Advocacy a wide range of veteran’s issues;
- National Task Force for Homeless Veterans;
- Health care for veterans, including Agent Orange issues, PTSD, and disabled veterans;
- Issues pertaining to women and minority veterans;
- National scholarship fund;
- Veterans Service Program providing assistance to veterans seeking benefits/services from the government;
- Vets Connect. Reaching out to support returning Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans.
The northwestern Nevada area has two chapters that are quite active. Carson Area Chapter 388 is located in Carson City (Nevada’s capital) and has over 150 members. The Sierra Nevada Chapter 989, located in Reno has over 150 members.
The chapter’s primary focus are activities that directly help Veterans in the area. They work with other service organizations such as at the Homeless Veterans stand-down in Reno, Northern Nevada Veterans Resource Center, Veteran’s Guest House and others. In addition, chapter members monitor legislative issues relative to Veterans and insure Veterans are kept informed.
VVA Chapter 989 in Reno became a chapter on June 14, 2007 so it is relatively new, but it is not lacking in motivation and activity. We are conducting various outreach activities in the community spreading the word about Veterans concerns and needs. Chapter 989 provides continuous support to the Reno Veteran’s Center and the VA Medical Center working with various departments. The Chapter also provides ongoing support to the Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery in Fernley providing wreaths, flags and conducts flag raising ceremonies. Additionally, Chapter members provide resources to the Northern Nevada Veterans Resource Center in Reno and participate in the Veteran’s Guest House fund raising telethons. A novel effort provides a therapeutic horticulture program (vegetable garden) to aid Veterans and providing healing through gardening.